Producers: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Akash Chawla, Sanjay Kutty, B. Shrinivas Rao
Writers: Advait Chandan
What's Yay: Performances, Direction
What's Nay: A couple of weak moments run stray in the second half
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: The violent aftermath when Insia's father discovers about his wife selling off her last piece of jewellery to buy a laptop for Insia, leaves you with goosebumps.
A fifteen-year-old Vadodara based Insia (Zaira Wasim) aspires to be a famous singer. Her mother Najma (Meher Vij) believes in lending wings to her dreams. On the other hand, her misogynist father (Arjun Raj) is a terror in the household. The guitar-strumming teen along with her submissive mother and kid mother try to seize in small moments of happiness whenever the father isn't around.
Like Paulo Coelho puts its up- 'Fight for your dreams and your dreams will fight for you! On her mother's suggestion, Insia takes to the internet and starts posting her singing videos under the monicker 'Secret Superstar' on Youtube. Wearing a burkha, Insia makes sure to conceal her identity in those videos to steer clear of her father's wrath.
Soon her videos go viral and catches the eye of Shakti Kumar (Aamir Khan), an out-of-flavour music director. Will Insia overcome all hurdles and turn this as a stepping stone towards her success?
Secret Superstar dabbles with a plot line that has been tried and tested zillion times. But, it's Advait Chandan's mint fresh direction that adds a different perspective to the story. The way he approaches the scenes remind you constantly that he has been schooled under 'Mr. Perfectionalist'. A confident directorial debut by the young man!
The film isn't just a story of Insia's starry dreams. It also talks about breaking free from the shambles of patriachy and raising your voice against rigid-old orthodox thoughts. You constantly find yourself oscillating between emotions as the story unravels and reaches the climax.
While 'Dangal' was more of a tease, the rose-cheeked Zaira Wasim is a complete revelation in Secret Superstar and pulls off her role with aplomb.
Aamir Khan as the self- obsessed, OTT musician, dressed in animal printed tees and crotch-hanging jeans brings some spunk and a touch of humour. It's quite entertaining to watch him play a character that's just not him in real life. Even in his extended cameo, he lets Zaira take the spotlight and be the real superstar!
Remember Meher Vij who starred as Munni's mother in Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan? This time she gets more of screen time as Insia's mother and leaves an indelible impression. Be it her stoic silence as a battered wife in an abusive marriage or her 'sacrifices' to help Insia achieve her dreams, Vij is simply outstanding.
Raj Arjun as the 'Mr. Mogambo' of the Malik household sends shivers down your spine in a couple of scenes. The cute love story track between Insia and Chintan (Tirth Sharma) leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Kabir Sajid as Insia's brother Guddu is adorable.
Anil Mehta's cinematography works fine. But the film could have been snipped in certain portions to make it more compact especially post interval.
The songs of this work seamlessly as a narrative rather than a standalone album.
Secret Superstar narrates the emotional conflict so beautifully that it tugs your heartstrings and makes you feel a part of their world. The film is like that 'maa ke haath ka khaana' that always wins you over with its simplicity and leaves you craving for more!